Josiah, aka J.D.L. Rosell, is the author of the Legend of Tal series, the Ranger of the Titan Wilds series, The Runewar Saga, The Famine Cycle series, and the Godslayer Rising trilogy. He has earned an MA in creative writing and has previously worked as a ghostwriter.
Always drawn to the outdoors, Josiah ventures out into nature whenever he can to indulge in his hobbies of archery, hiking, and photography. Most of the time, he can be found playing video games or curled up with a good book at home with his wife and two cats, Zelda and Abenthy.
1.- What made you decide on self-publishing?
To be honest, I did query for a few months before I decided to publish myself. But it didn't take me long to want to take my fate into my own hands.
The most attractive part of it obviously is the control, both in what you write and how you publish. I tend to write quicker than many other authors, so doing a traditional publishing timeline would be very slow for me anyway.
The other incentive is, frankly, monetary. From what I understand of the traditional publishing mid-list, it's unlikely I'd be able to do this full-time if I'd gone that route and had about the same success.
2.- After publishing if I'm not mistaken, 4 series, being this the fifth, how would you say your creative process has evolved?
That's right, I do have five series still being published, with one book that I pulled from the shelves.
It's certainly refined over the course of each book. Though I go through roughly the same steps as I did from the beginning, I'm more rigorous in my self-editing and editing from others, and I write cleaner in my first drafts—though still quite messy!
I also found out that doing a complete outline before writing the book tends to result in wasted effort. Now, I only outline a few chapters ahead of when I'm drafting. It tends to let me have enough structure to write quickly and effectively while leaving the story flexible enough that I can adapt it as I go.
3.- Let's talk a little bit more about The Last Ranger. This project was the first one you made a Kickstarter for, could you explain a little why and how it changed the process?
Kickstarter had started becoming all the rage when I was getting ready to publish The Last Ranger, so it was already on my mind. Seeing some similar books succeed on it made me pull the trigger.
I was really excited to be able to create a more beautiful book than I had previously by way of interior artwork, extra cover design, and an illustrated map. Those things just aren't possible with my normal book budget, but Kickstarter enabled me to do them, for which I'm very grateful.
It has perhaps slowed down the release schedule a bit for the series, but it's definitely worth it.
4.- I really enjoyed the world of the Titan Wilds, and I would like to ask you: what inspired you to create this world? (Note: my guess is post-colonial South America)
You're right, that was definitely a major influence for the world! It's a compelling setup rife with conflict and issues to explore, and I don't see colonial settings nearly as much as you might expect in fantasy, so that was also attractive.
Robin Hobb's Soldier Son series got me thinking about a colonial landscape, and funnily enough, the Hamilton musical also set my thoughts in that direction.
The Horizon video games were also a major influence, both for the protagonist and the world. Leiyn is very different from Aloy in some respects, but it's not hard to see the similarities!
5.- The book also features gorgeous illustrations. Who is responsible for these?
Félix Ortiz is the guilty party! He did a fantastic job, didn't he? I was really pleased with the way everything turned out!
6.- Which part of developing the Titan Wilds would you say was the most challenging for you?
As ever for me, the real-world aspects tend to be the most challenging. I'm not the best researcher, but I tend to be fairly aware of the things that I don't know. You might not think a made-up world like this would tend towards most research, but when forming ecosystems, want them to make sense in a real-world ecological sense, Plus I borrow a lot of real-world plants and animals that I want to be sure to interact in a believable way.
Another challenge came with thinking through how to integrate the magic system with the titans and the other creatures like dryvans in this world. But that was more fun than anything else, so I can't really complain!
7.- Would you say the creative process is easier when you gain experience?
I absolutely would. I tend to have less anxiety and more trust that things will sort out the way that they should. I also have more systems in place for getting to the ideas and solutions I need for stories. Everything proceeds smoother and with less anxiety, so I definitely say that's an improvement!
8.- What can we expect from J.D.L. Rosell in the future?
Always more books! I also plan to expand out into a deluxe edition for another series soon here, so keep a watch out on Kickstarter for that!